Closing the Gap Innovation Grants

The Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY), with support from the United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI), is awarding Innovation Grants up to $20,000 to school-community partnerships as part of our Closing the Gap Initiative. Closing the Gap is an initiative of MCCOY that aims to develop better partnerships between schools and community organizations to improve youth and family outcomes in Marion County. Based on substantial assessments and data collection from both schools and community organizations, we believe youth and families will have better outcomes when schools and communities work together to address the complex challenges impacting youth.  

Applications are due July 1, 2024 by 5:00 PM Eastern

About the Closing the Gap Innovation Grants

Closing the Gap identifies five challenges to improving youth and family outcomes informed by input throughout Marion County, existing research, and secondary data: 

  • Mental Health 
  • Trauma/Violence 
  • Social Emotional Health/Development 
  • Chronic Absenteeism 
  • Social Media/Internet Use 

MCCOY expects to award grants up to $20,000 to support development, implementation, and evaluation of innovative pilot projects and programs developed by school-community partnerships to address these five key challenge areas of Closing the Gap. Projects and programs are expected to fully developed and/or begin implementation by December 31, 2024.  

We are an intermediary; our work adds value by keeping the focus on developing supports and opportunities needed for positive youth development.

Learn More at our Info Session

Webinar 2: Overview & Office Hours

Thursday, June 6, 2024

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM



To be eligible for funding for a Closing the Gap Innovation Grant, an applicant must meet the following criteria: 

  • An applicant must be a local education institution (K-12 school) OR a nonprofit community-based organization with a 501(c)3 status located in and serving Marion County, Indiana.  
  • Applicants must participate in at least three (3) check-in Zoom calls with MCCOY staff, to provide updates on their project/program development or implementation.  
  • Applicants applying for a grant to implement a project/program must submit a signed partnership agreement. A template is provided. Partnerships may be existing or newly developed for the purpose of the proposed project/program.  
  • Applicants should meaningfully address one or two of the 5 challenge areas of Closing the Gap as described above.   
  • Community-based organizations who serve as the primary applicant must have an annual operating budget of at least $75,000 and have been in operation for at least 12 months on the date of submission.  


Apply today! Proposals are due July 1, 2024 at 5:00 PM EDT.



Schools and organizations that have questions about their eligibility for participation in the Closing the Gap Innovation Grant opportunity may contact Kate Roelecke at  

Funding Considerations

MCCOY recognizes that school and community partnerships are at different levels of preparedness to address the challenge areas identified by the Closing the Gap Initiative. MCCOY plans to support innovative and meaningful projects/programs addressing one or two of the challenge areas through the following types of Innovation Grants: 

  • Planning Grant: These proposals are submitted by applicants who are still in the planning and development stage of their project/program. They may still need to develop the necessary partnerships or think through components of their project/program. Planning grants may transition to the implementation stage before the grant period ends on December 31, 2024. Planning Grants must result in a fully developed action plan prior to implementation.  
  • Implementation Grant: These proposals are submitted by applicants who have established a school-community partnership (confirmed by a signed partnership agreement as part of their proposal submission) and have provided sufficient details of their action plan to ensure that implementation will be successful. Implementation Grants must show measurable results and outcomes and share these results in an evaluation report submitted after the grant period ends on December 31, 2024.  

An applicant may submit only one proposal for a Closing the Gap Innovation Grant. All proposals must include brief narratives describing the proposed project/program, how it will serve the needs of the community, and how it will address one or two of the challenge areas.  

Planning Grant proposals must describe how the applicant has innovated in the past, identify a team of committed individuals to participate in the planning process, provide a detailed timeline of planning activities (and potential implementation), and provide a budget and budget narrative.  

Implementation Grant proposals must explain the expected impact of the proposed project/program, discuss potential roadblocks, and provide a detailed timeline, budget, and budget narrative. A signed partnership agreement between at least one school and one community-based organization is also required.  

Letters of support (optional) may also be included for both types of proposals.  

In reviewing proposals and determining funding recommendations, the selection committee (including MCCOY Staff and key stakeholders) will take into consideration the following as relevant, among other factors:

  • The number of students and families who will be impacted and the potential outcomes for those students and families. 
  • The approach to addressing the identified challenge area(s).  
  • The applicants’ capabilities to carry out projects/programs of the type and scale proposed.  
  • The feasibility of the program or project plan, including the viability of the timeline and proposed investment, the likelihood of aligning key partners or other critical success factors, and the achievability of the anticipated outcomes.  
  • Whether the amount of the requested grant is proportional to the scale and impact of the project/program to be funded by the grant.  
  • Whether the applicant(s) have the ability and commitment to sustain the project/program after funds from the grant are expended.  

Funding Amounts 

The 2024 Innovation Grants will be funded for a period of five (5) months, to support planning, implementation, and evaluation of the proposed project/program by December 31, 2024. Grant requests may not exceed $20,000. Any proposal exceeding this amount will not be considered for funding.